PPEL Vote September 11, 2018

On September 11, a special election will be held on whether to renew Southeast Polk PPEL funds for another 10 years. Before you go to the polls, we want you to know a few things.

First, renewing PPEL funds will not raise your district taxes. Through our conservative financial planning, this is money that has already been set aside. And it can only be used for specific facility needs; not administrative salaries or expenses.

PPEL funding can be used for more than just building maintenance. If PPEL funding is extended, we plan to use the money to:

  • replace older school buses
  • purchase musical instruments to provide more students with the opportunity to participate in our fine arts program
  • update playground equipment with newer and safer equipment
  • incorporate one-to-one technology at the elementary level
  • repair, remodel or reconstruct existing facilities to increase the safety of our buildings

With PPEL, we can continue to give our students the best tools possible to succeed.  The special election for PPEL only happens every 10 years, so it’s critically important to our district. Our district is strong — academically and with the facilities, resources, and services we offer students.

We pride ourselves on being fiscally conservative and using all funds wisely.  Please vote on Tuesday, September 11.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is PPEL?
PPEL stands for the Physical Plant & Equipment Levy. PPEL revenues and expenditures are accounted for in a special revenue fund. Revenues are generated from property taxes and can provide a maximum of $1.67 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. PPEL can only be used for purposes outlined by the law.

What can PPEL funds be used for?
The funds provided through PPEL may be used for the following:

  • Purchase or improvement of property
  • Construction of schools, buildings and roads
  • Payment of debt for schools and buildings
  • Repair, remodeling or reconstructing of existing facilities to increase the safety of our buildings
  • Expenditures for energy conservation
  • Transportation equipment for students (buses)
  • Playground equipment
  • Musical Instruments
  • Technology
  • Other equipment in excess of $500

What can’t PPEL funds be used for?

  • Employee salaries, benefits or travel expenses
  • Educational programs or textbooks
  • Printing costs or media services
  • Heating and cooling costs or bus fuel
  • Any other purpose not expressly authorized

Why can’t General Fund dollars be used for PPEL needs?
General Fund dollars are dedicated to classroom instruction and other support services. Classroom instruction includes wages and benefits for the District’s 500 plus teachers, textbooks and other instructional-related materials and supplies. Support services include the professional development of teachers, transportation of students, counselors, nurses, custodians, maintenance of district buildings, and utilities including water, gas, and electricity. Without the revenues generated from PPEL, scarce General Fund revenues would have to be used to pay for items not directly related to the instruction of students.

How is PPEL funded?
PPEL revenues are generated through property taxes and made up of two different components: a School Board approved PPEL and a voter approved PPEL. The School Board provides approval of its portion of PPEL during the annual budget adoption process. The voters provide their approval of PPEL every ten years through a special election. September 11, 2018 is the election day. The current voter approved PPEL is set to expire June 30, 2020.  

What revenue is currently generated through PPEL?
For the current fiscal year, PPEL will generate approximately $2.1 million.

How is the current revenue from PPEL spent?
PPEL revenues are currently being used to purchase buses, supplement the purchase of technology equipment, support the repair of buildings and equipment, and the payment of previously issued debt incurred in PPEL. PPEL revenues have contributed to the updating of playground equipment, and this fall will be used to enhance the security of entryways into the high school, junior high, and Spring Creek in order to keep our students and staff safe in our buildings.

How much revenue would be created with the increase in PPEL?
The ballot asks for a renewal of the ten-year levy that will be expiring June 30, 2020, and for an increase of sixty-seven cents to the voter approved levy for a total of $1.67 per $1,000 of assessed valuation beginning July 1, 2020. The increase would generate an additional $1.5 million in revenue for a total of $3.6 million annually.  

What would the increase mean for my taxes?
The District’s overall tax rate will NOT increase due to the increase in the PPEL rate. This is possible due to projected increases in property valuations across our communities, limitations in school budgets based on the State Foundation Aid formula, leveraging other funding sources, and conservative spending decisions by the School Board and its administration.

How will this levy rate compare with what I’ve paid in the past?
The District’s total tax rate will NOT increase due to the proposed increase to PPEL.

Why is it important to pass PPEL now?
The District needs to protect and retain General Fund dollars necessary for the instruction of students and the support of instructional services. With the current voter approved PPEL expiring June 30, 2020, it is important for the District to know what resources are available for the future.

Do other districts use PPEL?
All 18 of the public school districts in the Central Iowa Metro League use PPEL funds, including Des Moines, Urbandale, West Des Moines, and Waukee.

When is the vote?
The vote on PPEL will be held on Tuesday, September 11, 2018.

Where do I vote?
Find your polling place here. The polls will be open from 7am to 8pm.

For additional information on PPEL please feel free to contact:
Dr. Dirk Halupnik, Superintendent

Kevin Baccam, Executive Director of Business Services

Mattia Hansen, Community Relations Coordinator